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OPINION: Regarding books, hubby and I aren’t on the same page

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Marg Johnson

Marg Johnson

This summer, like many Sarnians, we had a flood at our house. And while it turned out to be merely inconvenient it had the potential for disaster.

My husband, you see, is a collector of books and he has myriad boxes filled with paperbacks.

I admit I used to begrudge him this small joy, mostly because I’m one of those people who take my used books immediately to the Goodwill.

When Rod and I got married in 1980 he brought with him 860 sci-fi paperbacks. When we moved to Sarnia the 860 had grown to 1,200 books, packed in storage boxes.

Rod doesn’t seem to reread his books; he merely collects them until he has the whole set, then joyfully leaps into a fantasy world for however long it takes him to read the 4-to-5 books in the set.

What a waste of space and money, I grudged.

It took me decades to figure it out, but I now realize it’s the act of collecting that enthrals him. And as I’ve matured I have come to accept that in him, nay encourage that in him, and can rejoice with him when the last book finally arrives and he can disappear into his favourite world.

Part of me does envy that joy.

Back when I took courses, I was five days away from a psychology exam and seven days away from an English exam, when my beloved came home with a book that his secretary wanted me to read.

She enjoyed the Nora Roberts books about gods and witches that involve themselves in our world, and gave me what turned out to be the first book of the Key Trilogy.

I cracked the cover that night and two days later was in Rod’s face like an addict, twitching with want for the second instalment. “She’s just reading it now,” he said. After ranting about him daring to give me the first book in a trilogy just days before exams, I huffed myself over to Chapters and bought the whole series.

I finished them the day before my first exam, still peeved he’d known what I was like yet put me in that situation.

Of course, I then gave the entire set to the Goodwill, but I can see the irony for what it is.

Sarnia’s Marg Johnson is a retired Child & Youth Worker


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